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Friday, 4 September 2009

Why Connecting is the New Networking

Most people would do anything other than walk into a roomful of strangers. Yet making worthwhile connections in business is the single most powerful form of publicity you can achieve. Not ‘working the room’ touching base with everyone, exchanging cards and connecting with nobody. Connecting is finding people you genuinely like: people you can do business with.
Heartfelt recommendations from people that know you really does bring in new business. It works because the people that like you, tend to gather similar people, so their contacts are also likely to like your approach.
That experience of walking into a roomful of strangers, along with public speaking were both famously ranked before death itself in a study of things people feared most. And that was a study run in the US. We in the UK tend to think they do communications better over there.
Yes, many Americans are good communicators, and I promise you there’s a very good reason for that. Toastmasters International. Portland, Oregon is a US city with a population equivalent to my hometown of Edinburgh, UK. Portland has 125 Toastmasters’ clubs to our two – and one of those is very new!
Toastmasters is a not-for-profit self-help that offers a ridiculously good public speaking training plus impromptu speaking practice (ideal for connecting with people) and a leadership skills programme that is ludicrously good value for money. It costs around £100 a year (clubs vary according to the costs of meeting rooms etc) for fortnightly 2 hour training and practice sessions.
There are great 1-2-1 trainers who’ll get you faster results, but without the practice opportunities, how long will that last?
Toastmasters offers regular practice along with proven training resources and powerful feedback.
There’s a reason Toastmasters is the world’s largest public speaking training organisation, with over 4 million people trained in most countries throughout the world.
Go onto and find a club! (scroll past the map which shows the UK HQ to find results for your area).

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posted by Penny Haywood Calder at


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